Full Blown Resurrection (March & April on the Farm)

Can we absorb the life force of plants by just being close in proximity to them?

It was a question that I was seriously entertaining during a run in March through the canyon adjacent to our house. While pounding the trail or pavement, there is no thought too absurd, no mental rabbit trail too small, no hope or dream too unlikely, or memory too distant.

The plants in the canyon were so vibrant this morning, intensely glowing with lush, verdant life. Water rose like smoke from a fire off of their leaves. I kid you not, you could feel their energy this morning. The trail always gets overgrown this time of year, and my legs brushed up against leaves and vines, sharp edged and dripping wet with morning dew.

I wanted it to be true.

Too much has happened the past two months to pack into one very short essay, but I’ll take my best shot at it.

March has historically been one of my most challenging months on the farm. All of the flowers we plant in the fall bloom at once in March. Although, I think due to a milder winter, a lot of our flowers bloomed a few weeks earlier this year. I’m getting better at managing the pest pressure, which is constant and very stressful in the early spring in our climate. April is typically a big let down after March, a breath of slowness I’ve learned to welcome as a much needed respite before the summer. There is less cutting, but way more planting to do in April.

To give you a better idea, we’ve grown and harvested and distributed 14,000 perfect stems from the gardens so far this year. I feel tired just writing that.

I’ve undergone a bit of what I’d call “a turning.” (This actually reminds me of all the sermons I’ve heard about repentance growing up where the pastor offers a stern word to turn 180 moral degrees into a new direction.) All this to say, I want to grow and sell more cuts from plants native to California. Our first crop of California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are now blooming, and I’ve been so encouraged by the florists that have already been willing to try them out for their events.

On the personal front: March and April have felt full with birthdays (hello eight and six!), Easter, elementary school spring break, and sports activities. I will not write about my new laundry routine that I’m obsessed with, but I’m very pragmatic by nature and could go on about this for several paragraphs (but won’t!). My team on the farm has grown and I’m still learning how to manage an actual farm crew. I want to work toward being less enraged about the “powers that be” and the inequity in the world. Perhaps a bit more flexible? Less cynical? Less impassioned? “Breathe out stress, breathe in rest.”

May and June are a bridge, precariously straddling spring and summer on the flower farm. In May and June we expect to welcome irises, cosmos, scabiosas, bellflowers, zinnias, and the first dahlias.

Even if it isn’t true, I feel the mystical, pulsating, electric power of plants every day on the farm. What a privilege it is to work outside and in the garden every day, so very close to flowers.